With a focus on fitness, raising funds and having a cheeky little bit of fun, island support group The Monday Club presents the Hebridean Men's Health Naked Calendar 2017.
A volunteer run group, established to support islanders affected by stroke, chest and heart conditions, The Monday Club is affiliated with national charity Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland and sees members meet twice a month for lunch and fellowship.
“We are an entirely self funding group, so each year we try to come up with ideas to raise club funds,” said the Club's Alison Tunstall.
“This year we decided on a calendar of naked male islanders. We employed the use of strategically placed gym equipment to make you smile, but also as an important reminder that one of the preventions of stroke is a health lifestyle, so we want to carry that message too.”
In the Western Isles, over the last financial year, a total of 58 people were admitted to hospital having suffered from a stroke; while statistically someone in Scotland has a stroke every 45 minutes, and every 55 minutes a Scot will have a heart attack.
“Many think that stroke is an old person's illness when in fact stroke can affect anyone of any age and at any time,” said Alison.
“Stroke affects everybody differently because we are all different. While many people here, due to the timeliness of dialling 999, were treated quickly and made a good recovery, sadly many, for a variety of reasons, were left with moderate to life changing physical disabilities and/or communication difficulties post-stroke.”
With the speed at which treatment for a stroke is sought often making a great difference to recovery, The Monday Club members champion the 'F.A.S.T' memory aid campaign:
F – Face – has a person's face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
A – Arms – can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
S – Speech – is a person's speech slurred?
T – Time to call 999 – if you spot any single one of these signs.
Alison continued: “Stroke can make people feel isolated and alone, and they can lose their confidence for many reasons. Groups like The Monday Club therefore are vital to the islands.
“If a person has been affected by aphasia or dysphasia [speech and language problems] the other group members help them with communication. It is wonderful to watch the group together, how they support each other and see confidence and friendships grow.
“And we are also a respite for carers,” she added. “Whilst their loved ones are with us, they have a couple of hours to run errands or do whatever they need.”
It is hoped the 2017 Naked Calendar fundraiser will help the Club continue to meet, twice a month, at the Retirement Centre in Stornoway for lunch and music, and enjoy various outings around the islands.
And to help support the local group, and raise funds and awareness of stroke, chest and heart conditions, the Hebridean Men's Health Naked 2017 Calendars are available, priced £9, from The Woodlands Centre; Hebridean Cottage Crafts; The Cutting Room (Barvas); Hair and Beauty Lounge; The Welcome Inn Service Centre (Barvas); Chic; White Rooms; Sea In Design (Ballantrushal); Beautify; Salon nan Eilean; Maybury Gardens, and the Erisort Ward at Western Isles Hospital.